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65 million "lost" souls.....

Refugees have been much in the news lately, principally because of the significant numbers making their way to Europe from the Middle East and Africa and the large number of rescues and drownings of those crossing the Mediterranean trying to reach Greece.   

The number of refugees world wide is a staggering 65 million - according to the UN.

"More people are on the run than ever before in recorded history, the United Nations said in a report released Monday.

They include those fleeing marauders in South Sudan, drug gangs in Central America, and the Islamic State in the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Falluja. While most are displaced within their own countries, an unprecedented number are seeking political asylum in the world’s rich countries. Nearly 100,000 are children who have attempted the journey alone.

All told, the number of people displaced by conflict is estimated to exceed 65 million, more than the population of Britain.

The new figures, part of the United Nations refugee agency’s Global Trends Report, come as hostility is surging toward migrants and refugees in the Western countries where they are seeking sanctuary and relief."

Meanwhile, Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch writes:

The human-rights building blocks of democratic society are the ideas that we should see the humanity in each individual, respect and value differences, and treat others with the respect that we want them to give us.  Yet these values are now under attack more intensely than at any period in recent decades.

In Europe–although Austria may have just dodged a bullet in its presidential election– leaders like Hungary’s Victor Orban and Poland’s Jarosław Kaczyński speak openly of building “illiberal” democracy— one without essential checks and balances on executive power, including protection for human rights.  In country after country in Europe, far-right and even mainstream parties trade in intolerance, xenophobia, nativism, and fearmongering.

The problem arises elsewhere as well. American demagogues advance their political prospects by appealing to our worst instincts. China and Russia promote authoritarian government as a superior model. African leaders attack international justice.  Governments worldwide try to keep citizens from banding together in civic groups to make themselves heard.  Perhaps most dramatically, the Syrian government has ripped up the Geneva Conventions to fight a war by deliberately attacking civilians in opposition-held areas.


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